• Project Fresh Start - About Us

    About Us

    healthy eating and living

How did it start

In the words of founder of Project Fresh Start

I have been an advocate for animal rights and social justice for many years and have had a long career as a chef and student of nutrition.

While volunteering in a local food relief centre I noticed a lack of nutritious plant based foods both in supply and demand and wanted to give people a different perspective of plant based foods and how they could be incorporated into the existing services that provide food for disadvantaged community members.

I also wanted to avoid the frustration I saw in people who are forced daily to prove their financial status in order to receive free food and reach the people who needed this service but were too ashamed to ask. I also noticed that people with various dietary requirements could not always get the food they needed that could easily be fulfilled with plant-based meals.

A volunteer I was working with listened to my ideas and encouraged me start up my own organisation. She helped me to set up Project Fresh Start along with another volunteer who assisted us set up a not for profit incorporated entity so we could start operating. I chose people to join me on the board who are trusted friends and share the same values and who could bring their own experience and ideas to the group.

Project Fresh Start officially started in July 2021, our early ventures included Meat Free Mondays at Community Support Frankston where we supplied the lunches once a week in their lunch program and free Saturday lunches onsite at the Ambassador Apartments. These pilot projects enabled us to observe how our food would be received and to use this feedback to build our current programs.

Our Committe Members


Jolene Gailitis

Founder / President

 I have had a long career as a chef and student of nutrition and now work in the homelessness sector. I love how this organisation brings together my values of animal rights, social justice, and environmentalism. I love getting to know all the people in my community and helping to create a space where people can feel safe and welcomed along with all my friends who volunteer or support us in other ways and make this project what it is today. We have lots of exciting plans for the future.


Robyn Kirby

Vice President

 Project Fresh Start is for me a wonderful combination of my two passions - animal welfare and social justice. Introducing people to the delights of plant-based eating using food that would have otherwise been destined to go to waste is a very rewarding experience. I love the fact that Project Fresh Start also provides a social connection for people in the community. I have volunteered for animal welfare causes both in Australia and overseas and am very proud to now be part of this exciting community project.


Warwick Smith


 I have fond memories of growing up on my grandparent’s farm where we would share what we grew, I loved to cook & thought of being a farmer or a chef when I grew up & maybe going to Africa to teach how to grow food - big dreams. I have had a long successful career as a hairdresser and now own and operate a salon in Frankston. The purpose of my business was to connect with community & meet those with similar values to make my dream a reality. I’ve been part of Project Fresh Start since the beginning & now am in Community Services role for Rotary Sunrise Frankston. During lockdown I was fortunate to have time to explore new cooking & food preserving techniques. It’s quite surprising how easy it is to cook healthy plant based meals that taste great at nominal cost.


Lauren Forster


 Project fresh start organisation means a lot to me because of its mission to provide nutritional food and reducing food waste, to anyone in need of a delicious meal. In my previous career as a youth worker as well as volunteer with church organisations, I provided welfare support with food, clothing and shelter, but I felt the food we were providing, didn't have much nutritional value, which I felt, was a gap in the system. This is where I feel project fresh start is bridging that gap and now we have the community fridge, we are able to provide this food more frequently and reach the people who need it.

Can't wait to see what the future has installed for this fantastic organisation.